Who needs anesthesia when you have a sharp rock and some naturally-occurring asphalt to fill a cavity? Archaeologists found evidence of Paleolithic dentistry.
After the team used computer reconstructions to examine the cavities, they analyzed the bitumen in the fillings.
The researchers also found bits of hair and plant fibers stuck in the bitumen, though they are not sure what purpose they served. Overall the teeth appeared to have undergone a similar process as seen in modern dentistry: the cavities were drilled out and filled.
While this is the only example of the technique discovered, team leader Stefano Benazzi, of the University of Bologna says it might not be an isolated case and that the technology could have spread. “[T]hey may be part of a broader trend, or tradition, of dental interventions among late [Stone Age] foragers in Italy,” he tells Bower.
The full report is in Physical Anthropology.
• 13,000-Year-Old Fillings Were “Drilled” With Stone and Packed With Tar (Smithsonian)
A pickup truck crashed into one of Easter Island’s iconic moai statues, carved by the Rapa Nui people circa 1400 to 1650 AD. Police arrested a Chilean inhabitant whose truck apparently caused “incalculable” damage to the head. Since 2012, the Polynesian island’s population has increased from 8,000 to 12,000 and tourism has skyrocketed. From The […]
Starting in 2007, photographer and visual effects artist Dimitris Tsalkanis has been building a digital 3D model of ancient Athens. The result is an immersive historical recreation where everyone online is invited. How did Tsalkanis handle this Herculean (rather, Heraklean) task? He learned as he went. From Sarah Rose Sharp’s article about Ancient Athens 3D […]
Ludus Latrunculorum. Senet. Chaturanga. And don’t forget Hnefatafl. These were just some of the board games that ancient people were into thousands of years ago. Over at Smithsonian, Meilan Solly explains “The Best Board Games of the Ancient World.” From the magazine: The rules of Mehen remain unclear, as the game faded from popularity following […]
Electric bikes aren’t toys. And they aren’t a fad. In fact, more and more communities are starting to catch on that e-bikes are a lot more than an amusing gadget for the tech geek. Following a six-month study, Johnson County, Kansas, home to many Kansas City suburbs, became just the latest U.S. community to allow […]
Whether you’re living in a city that has already taken measures to reduce plastic bag use, the small silver lining of the pandemic has inspired you to make changes, or you’ve already started living a greener lifestyle, reusable produce bags are a great addition to your shopping routine. And if you’re going to invest in […]
Dealing with all the COVID-19 fallout is one of the new realities of our ever-changing world — and that isn’t likely going away anytime soon. It’s also prompted a rash of existential questions for parents. Questions like how do I protect my kids? Or how do I soothe their fears? And there’s also one of […]